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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

The rains of the Southwest overwhelm deserts and cascade into Vegas casinos

Extreme summer thunderstorms soaked Las Vegas, forcing water to flow from casino ceilings and pool on the carpet of a stadium-sized sports betting area, according to a National Weather Service official on Friday.

A senior meteorologist at the weather service facility at Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas says: “We’re moving right into the heart of the most active section.” As compared to the prior five years or so, this year’s monsoon season has been rather busy.” Thunderstorms are more likely to form in the near future.”

For the last several weeks, the yearly weather pattern in the Southwest United States has delivered torrential rains, flooded rivers, and rescue efforts.

When a car became submerged in floods in Apache Junction, Arizona, the driver had to be rescued from the vehicle. When their red truck became bogged in the mud and water surged around it, a group of young conservationists in Canyon de Chelly National Monument on the Navajo Nation abandoned their vehicle. After her automobile was carried away, deputies from Mohave County’s sheriff’s office rescued a lady hanging to a stop sign earlier this week.

Since the beginning of the week, parts of the Hualapai Mountains in Mohave County have received up to six inches (15.2 cm) of rain. Before a flood warning was lifted early Saturday morning, the National Weather Service predicted that rain would fall at a rate of 1 to 2 inches per hour in portions of Arizona.

A welcome downpour in a region suffering from a severe drought is problematic for areas where wildfires have ravaged vegetation that would typically delay and absorb floodwater.

FEMA has agreed to include the impacts on the state’s disaster declaration of floods and mudslides in several areas that have been struck hard by wildfires this year, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said on Thursday.

Residents of Flagstaff, a city in northern Arizona, have become used to receiving text messages and sirens warning of impending floods.

There are 3,500 sandbags surrounding Bret Henneman’s house, which is just north of Flagstaff and was damaged by two wildfires this spring. When his wife was babysitting two weeks ago, she left the back door open, allowing rain and dirt to flood the house.

Whenever there is a flood warning, they now shudder.

As Henneman, who is temporarily living with relatives until his home dries out, put it, “We still need the rains and all that and we really need the monsoons around here.” Just because of the flames, everything has altered.” As a result of this, when it rains, we’re afraid.”

Since the start of the June monsoon, which will last through the end of September, several areas of Arizona, including Heber, Show Low, Bellemont, and Prescott, have received 200 percent or more of their usual rainfall. There are pockets of dry weather, such as in Payson, where temperatures are much below average.

Weather service meteorologist Valerie Meola in Flagstaff said, “There’s no solid explanation for why it happens, but that’s part of the nature of storms.”

In Canyon de Chelly in Chinle, Arizona, Jacquetta Brown was walking on a trail this week when heavy rain blew through and she saw the red vehicle buried. The monsoon rains are good for crops and cattle in the canyon, but they also have a disadvantage, she noted.

It’s impossible to go to work or school if you can’t cross a wash, Brown added.

While just 0.76 millimetres (0.19 inches) of rain fell at the Las Vegas airport late on Thursday, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas received more over one inch (2.5 cm) of rain. Adair had this to say.

Trees were fallen by wind gusts as high as 114 mph (71 mph) in the area. Some sections of suburban Henderson saw almost an inch of rain and saw hail the size of pea fall from the sky as a lightning storm passed through.

No one was hurt, and there was no extensive damage, according to police, county and municipal authorities, and the meteorological service.

The Circa hotel-casino sports book in downtown Las Vegas has a massive TV monitor behind it where clients were able to record water flowing from the ceilings of the Caesars Palace and Planet Hollywood casinos. While the water was falling around him, one video showed a guy playing a slot machine.

The Circa owner Derek Stevens tweeted: “A night we’ll never forget.”

On Friday, Stevens remarked, “Last night’s weather struck Vegas by storm and we were no exception.” The show must go on, and I’m delighted to report that repairs are under progress.

He indicated that sports book chairs that had been cordoned off were anticipated to reopen over the weekend.

Many traffic junctions around Las Vegas Boulevard and Main Street were inundated due to the rapid runoff from sunbaked parcels. There were raging rivers in the flood-control canals. Fremont Street Experience casino pedestrian mall was among the areas reporting power disruptions.

According to city spokesman Jace Radke, between nine p.m. and midnight, Las Vegas firemen responded to 330 requests for assistance and swift-water teams rescued seven individuals. Stacey Welling, a spokesperson for Clark County, stated that firefighters responded to six water rescue requests.

There is an official measuring station at McCarran International Airport that measures rainfall, and according to Adair, it has recorded less than 0.7 inches (1.8 centimetres) in 2022, compared to the normal annual rainfall of roughly 4.2 inches (10.7 centimetres).

There is less than 30 percent of surface water in the drought-stricken Lake Mead reservoir behind Hoover Dam on the Colorado River.

Adair added that although storm runoff from the Las Vegas area would reach the lake, monsoon precipitation is not projected to influence the continuing regional drought.

During the winter months, when many Pacific storms come in and blanket a vast region with rain and snow, the meteorologist added, “we mainly depend on the winter season.” In terms of drought, it might have a big effect.

Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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